Ten years after the death of spouse Jacques Demy, the restoration of whose work (including the gorgeous, poignant 1964 musical Umbrellas of Cherbourg) she has tirelessly supervised, Belgian-born Agnès Varda has arrived at her own masterpiece. It’s a road picture (“a wandering-road documentary,” Varda has called it), as was her stunning Vagabond (1985)—only, this time […]

NÓI ALBÍNÓI (Dagur Kári, 2003)

A droll, humane, gentle comedy about a 17-year-old boy’s coming of age in a remote fjord village, Dagur Kári’s Nói albínói, from Iceland, reminds me, because of its sweetness perhaps, a little of Tex (Tim Hunter, 1982), a more densely plotted coming-of-age story about a teenaged boy. Both Tex McCormick and Nói Kristmundsson are motherless, […]

JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG (Stanley Kramer, 1961)

A shallow, stupid film, producer-director Stanley Kramer’s Judgment at Nuremberg is also compulsively watchable—a lightheaded entertainment about the Holocaust and international justice, with musical interludes. It’s a silly film, to be sure, but, given the gravity of the issues it touches upon, it’s a deeply offensive one, too. The script, by Abby Mann, is based […]


Robert Aldrich, the rotund, soft-looking but thoroughly macho director of such virile, violent and powerful films as The Big Knife (1955), Kiss Me Deadly (1955) and the Depression-set allegory Emperor of the North Pole (1973), had a second career as fillmmaker with a string of half-baked, bizarre and no less violent “women’s pictures” such as […]

THE NAKED KISS (Samuel Fuller, 1964)

Written, produced and directed by ace maverick American filmmaker Samuel Fuller, The Naked Kiss is a strange, highly expressive, intensely personal piece that resides somewhere betwixt hospital soap opera and sex crime melodrama, and betwixt Bertolt Brecht and the Marquis de Sade. It’s a movie of terrific shots and extraordinary set-pieces that hasn’t quite found […]